More than 300 prisoners at the Chuka prison in Kathwana, Tharaka Nithi County planted 1,000 tree seedlings in line with the Presidential target of planting 15 billion trees by the year 2032.
The spouse of the Deputy President Pastor Dorcas Rigathi led in the exercise at the prison when she visited on Thursday for the boy child outreach program against alcohol, drugs and substance abuse.
Pastor Dorcas commended the prison management and inmates for participating in the exercise, and working towards fulfilling the government directive of planting 15 billion trees by the year 2032.
“I have seen you have planted many trees here, and this information I will make sure it reaches the President, because this is his directive and you are working towards its fulfillment. Congratulations to all of you!” said Pastor Dorcas.
She said the prison would be part of history for participating in the greening of the environment and fighting climate change. She also recommended that the Kenya forest officers visit the facility to share the best practices in tree growing for the prison tree nursery and other activities towards tree planting.
“My dear sons, you can also come out with some great things from behind these prison walls. We must train the inmates in different forms of farming, and prepare them for life out of prison. Even give them opportunity to have skills in carpentry and driving,” said Pastor Dorcas.
Pastor Dorcas urged the prison management and staff to use acres of idle land within the facility to practice farming, and create revenue that would help dignify the lives of the inmates through food provision, and payment of fines and cash bails.
Tharaka Nithi Woman Representative Susan Ngugi said the boy child agenda targeting even those in prison would help reduce depression, stress, and addiction to alcohol and other drugs.
“Anyone under the sun can find themselves in prison. We have prisons for the male gender in Marimanti and here at Chuka Igambagombe, but women have to be transferred all the way in Meru to be imprisoned. Women need a prison in this locality so that their spouses and children can easily visit them while in incarceration,” said MP Wangui.
Deputy Commissioner of Prisons David Ndumu encouraged the inmates to have a good relationship with their parents and spouses, so they could receive them warmly upon release.
SSP Moses Ndiema, however, pointed out that most of the ‘boy children’were suffering in silence.
“Your initiative targeting the boy child is good because many are suffering in silence. Here in prison, the men have reformed and I urge the community to receive them once they are released. They are more useful out there,” said SSP Ndiema.
Also present was Youth Adviser at the ODP, George Theuri who urged the inmates not to give up in life despite the circumstances they were in.
Later in the day, Pastor Dorcas held a session with students at Chuka University as part of the preventive program against alcohol, drugs and other substances under the boy child agenda.
The office of the Deputy President, under which the office of the spouse of the Deputy President is under, has a target of planting two million trees annually.
The vision of the OSDP is ‘A Dignified Future for Vulnerable Populations’ who include the boy child, widows and orphans, and people with disabilities.